The Tetris MicroCard is a tiny gaming device that’s the size of a small stack of credit cards. Despite its compact profile, the Testris MicroCard has an actual D-pad and action buttons.
Although it comes outfitted with an officially licensed version of Tetris, the tiny console is fully programmable with Arduino.
The Tetris MicroCard is available for preorder now from the company’s website for $49, which might seem a bit steep, but remember that Tetris is officially licensed and the tiny console is programmable for additional games. Estimated shipping is sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
The creator of the MicroCard previously developed a GameBoy-style micro-console called the ArduBoy after seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign. The success of that campaign led to this new Testris version with a landscape-style layout.
The Tetris MicroCard features an OLED display, six control buttons, and a speaker with a mute function. The micro USB charger juices up the battery (which the company claims lasts up to six hours), but can also be used to upload open source applications.
The company’s founder, Kevin Bates, clarified with us in an email that the Tetris MicroCard is based on the original Arduboy and “will be able to take user code alongside the Tetris gameplay.”
However, it should be noted that the display screen is specially designed for optimum Tetris playing. So, some of the open source codes available may not play nice with the device’s layout.
If you prefer the GameBoy style model, you can instead preorder the original Arduboy for $39, which should be shipping sometime in the spring of 2016.
reminds me of the game and watch by Nintendo
No. An AVR is a great embedded microcontroller but is not a suitable chip for this sort of use. It uses a split code / data memory model where all code must execute from the flash and that flash has a very limited write endurance since it is not designed for constant rewriting other than the occasional reflash of an in system firmware update. There is no error detection/correction or other defect management. In fact chips which are used for development (i.e. a lot of reflashing) are not supposed to be put into production because of the reduced reliability.
I guess if you intend to just leave the default Tetris on it, sure. But who would be doing that?
Classic example of branding over usability, putting that darned ‘Arduino’ name on it is supposed to attract dweebs or something.
The write endurance on every AVR I’ve seen is specified as 10,000 cycles (on page 1 of each datasheet). I can imagine going through that many, but it would take some effort…for example, reflashing 3 times every day for over 9 years.
Every game load involves a reflash. And that is if the loader app is part of the bootloader and thus avoids a flash of the menu app which flashes the game to be played. And again, from those same datasheets, while they specify a 10K write endurance they caution against depending upon it, the part duration of 20 years seems to derate with write cycles if you read it assuming the marketing dept was handwaving away the concern. And it is not unfair if you assume development parts will never be placed into production as typical production will involve at most a few dozen updates.
But if this product is to be seen as a mere novelty to end up in a drawer in a few months then whatever, it won’t matter. To be useful though, a microcontroller with enough ram and the ability to execute code from it would be a better choice is all I’m saying.
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